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The BEST Tuba Christmases

Postby lost » Sun Dec 17, 2017 4:02 pm

For those who have been to a few, please share your experiences as a tuba player as to what makes a great tuba christmas.

I've been to 3 or 4 and I know what I dislike, so instead of moaning...I decided to start a positive thread! No negativity!
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Re: The BEST Tuba Christmases

Postby 1895King » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:30 pm

I have played Denver (around 300 players), Missoula, MT (100 players), and Great Falls, MT (about 2 dozen players). With the small group the playing is cleaner and it is easier to see the director. Last Tuesday evening a bunch of us from Great Falls went to Cascade, MT where we had 6 tubas and 6 euphonia; it was great. I like the small er groups.
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Re: The BEST Tuba Christmases

Postby scottw » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:41 pm

Just got home from Philadelphia TC. Always top-of-the-mark, this year was nothing less. Great venue at the Kimmel Center, great audience, indoor!, and Jay Krush is superb directing. And Carol Jansch drops in! What's not to like?
They do 2 sessions back to back, each limited to 100 players [by Kimmel management].
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Re: The BEST Tuba Christmases

Postby bort » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:43 pm

I think Baltimore has a lot going for it:

-- Outdoors
-- Public location (and NOT a seated concert)
-- Saturday afternoon
-- Large attendance
-- Scenic waterfront location

My biggest pet peeve is the idea that TubaChristmas is a concert in a seated venue. I think it works SO much better to have it in a public place, during shopping season, where passers-by can stop by and listen for as long as they choose to stay. It seems much more true to the original (and current) event in NYC. I'm not sure how many TC's are one way or the other, but I really dislike the "concert" style.
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Re: The BEST Tuba Christmases

Postby RobC » Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:21 pm

I don't satisfy the "been to a few" criterion as there has only ever been one in Australia, but the Canberra one was great. About 38 players, outside, large and appreciative audience.

The best thing for me was that by the last couple of pieces the sound was fabulous- great balance, tuning and dynamics. I thought we were good when we started but the end was something special.

Also very well organised, which really makes a difference. Looking forward to next year for sure.
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Re: The BEST Tuba Christmases

Postby lost » Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:28 pm

I particularly like it when there is a strong euphonium 1 presence and the conductor reigns in the tuba section. Yes it's tuba christmas...but how about a little musicality so we can distinguish a melody? :-D

I also appreciate humor. The speaker between numbers at 1 I went to yesterday added lots of humor to lighten the mood.
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Re: The BEST Tuba Christmases

Postby goodgigs » Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:19 pm

San Jose's "Christmas tubafest" was BY FAR the best I've bin to.
Tony's book was way better then Wilder's and We had a great venue.
Eastridge shopping mall features a tree story "Cathedral" area with opera house viewing.
One of the best parts was that we rehearsed in a conference room and left our cases there too.

A good time was had by all.
I miss those days !
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Re: The BEST Tuba Christmases

Postby imperialbari » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:22 am

A good Tuba Christmas is one with a room big enough to be adequate for the number of players participating.

Otherwise the ears of players and attenders alike will go Indian.

More specific they will become:

Mysore ears!

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Re: The BEST Tuba Christmases

Postby Heavy_Metal » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:35 am

bort wrote:I think Baltimore has a lot going for it:

-- Outdoors
-- Public location (and NOT a seated concert)
-- Saturday afternoon
-- Large attendance
-- Scenic waterfront location

My biggest pet peeve is the idea that TubaChristmas is a concert in a seated venue. I think it works SO much better to have it in a public place, during shopping season, where passers-by can stop by and listen for as long as they choose to stay. It seems much more true to the original (and current) event in NYC. I'm not sure how many TC's are one way or the other, but I really dislike the "concert" style.


Bel Air, MD's TC was today- we had 40 musicians, hbcrandy conducted, it was located in the high school auditorium, we had a near-capacity crowd and got a huge standing ovation at the end. So this concept can work.
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Re: The BEST Tuba Christmases

Postby tofu » Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:35 am

I understand the folks who have mentioned they like the small groups. The playing is cleaner and more musical. The tuba & euphs of my symphonic group did are own non-sanctioned private tuba christmas today in the foyer of the concert hall before our annual Christmas concert and the playing is at a high level - we enjoy it and the audience loves it.

But, I always enjoyed the massive downtown Chicago one with Harvey Philips held in connection with the Midwest Band Clinic. With Harvey lots of notables would also show up. I remember well the good time when Dr. Frederick Fennel did the conducting one year. Harvey's passion for the tuba and the event were always evident, as was his love & appreciation of Bill Bell. It imbued in me an appreciation that we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us - I miss Harvey. The big ones are an event versus a great musical outing. With a big show like Chicago having 400 + tuba players ranging in age from 10 to 90 you are going to have a wide range of abilities, so you have to go with the idea of it's a fun event and not worry about how well it is played. It would however be nice...if they occasionally tasered the HS sousphonists who think it is Honk Fest! :evil:
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Re: The BEST Tuba Christmases

Postby bloke » Mon Dec 18, 2017 9:53 am

There were about twenty-something folks at the one in the big Memphis mall.
- No one tried to rob me in the parking lot.
- Everyone was nice.
- No one overplayed.
- Four or five really fine players showed up, among those being Geoff Durbin ( http://gdurbi3.wixsite.com/geoff-durbin )
- There was some nice chatting and catching up afterward, with no one trying to rush off.
- Some folks even wanted to take pictures afterward of so-and-so with so-and-so, etc.
- An elderly friend (retired band director / good tuba player) I've been really worrying about seems to be back in good health again (walked a considerable distance with their tuba to the venue).
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Re: The BEST Tuba Christmases

Postby hrender » Mon Dec 18, 2017 8:24 pm

bloke wrote:There were about twenty-something folks at the one in the big Memphis mall.
- No one tried to rob me in the parking lot.
- Everyone was nice.
- No one overplayed.
- Four or five really fine players showed up, among those being Geoff Durbin ( http://gdurbi3.wixsite.com/geoff-durbin )
- There was some nice chatting and catching up afterward, with no one trying to rush off.
- Some folks even wanted to take pictures afterward of so-and-so with so-and-so, etc.
- An elderly friend (retired band director / good tuba player) I've been really worrying about seems to be back in good health again (walked a considerable distance with their tuba to the venue).


This. I've only been to a few in the area, and the one with a smaller group where everyone was "in-tune" both musically and attitudinally was a much more enjoyable experience.
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Re: The BEST Tuba Christmases

Postby sirtar » Mon Dec 18, 2017 9:27 pm

https://www.facebook.com/groups/tubamei ... 240751053/" target="_blank

The San Antonio TubaMeister Christmas Concert on the San Antonio River Walk. It rained and everyone stayed to the end.
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Re: The BEST Tuba Christmases

Postby GC » Mon Dec 18, 2017 9:41 pm

I played in a small second-year TubaChristmas in Gadsden, Alabama a couple of weeks back. The director is a young, talented band director who is quite a good tubaist. There were 6 euphoniums and 7 tubas, a good mix of experienced adults and students. Everything was well-balanced and musical. It was quite an enjoyable experience, definitely more fun than gigantic groups with dedicated blatters in the back.
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Re: The BEST Tuba Christmases

Postby Steve Sykes » Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:31 am

tofu wrote:I understand the folks who have mentioned they like the small groups. The playing is cleaner and more musical. The tuba & euphs of my symphonic group did are own non-sanctioned private tuba christmas today in the foyer of the concert hall before our annual Christmas concert and the playing is at a high level - we enjoy it and the audience loves it.

I played on that one!
Was visiting Chicago to solo at the Midwest - a fantastic experience!

But, I always enjoyed the massive downtown Chicago one with Harvey Philips held in connection with the Midwest Band Clinic. With Harvey lots of notables would also show up. I remember well the good time when Dr. Frederick Fennel did the conducting one year. Harvey's passion for the tuba and the event were always evident, as was his love & appreciation of Bill Bell. It imbued in me an appreciation that we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us - I miss Harvey. The big ones are an event versus a great musical outing. With a big show like Chicago having 400 + tuba players ranging in age from 10 to 90 you are going to have a wide range of abilities, so you have to go with the idea of it's a fun event and not worry about how well it is played. It would however be nice...if they occasionally tasered the HS sousphonists who think it is Honk Fest! :evil:
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Re: The BEST Tuba Christmases

Postby Steve Sykes » Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:33 am

I played at that one! I was in Chicago soloing at the Midwest Clinic - a great experience!
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Re: The BEST Tuba Christmases

Postby eupher61 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:03 pm

Akron OH. Youtube it[...
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Re: The BEST Tuba Christmases

Postby Leland » Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:32 pm

"Best" that I've been in?

Big enough to hide mistakes, small enough to still be clean, and in a public venue for maximum exposure beyond just a few friends n' family.

Back in college, we did ours at the shopping mall on Saturdays with about 20 players. Using a mic and portable amp, Dr. William Winkle would conduct and emcee, and he'd sing "Santa Wants A Tuba For Christmas" while a quartet of us backed him up.

Every year, after we finished, random people would walk up and say to me, "I never knew tubas could sound so nice!" Mission accomplished.
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Re: The BEST Tuba Christmases

Postby Mark Finley » Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:37 pm

Dallas has a good scene. The organizers don't program too much music,the setting is beautiful, lots of experienced players to cover up those that are just bad. The people come down from their downtown offices the last working day before christmas like clockwork and the crowd is HUGE. it's one of the only TC event where the crowd is in the thousands, easy

The downside? There is no decent bad weather contingency plan. If it's raining, the grassy slope we play on turns into a mudslide, and it's a miserable experience.
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Re: The BEST Tuba Christmases

Postby tylerferris1213 » Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:58 pm

I've been to quite a few in the state of Ohio, so I'll give my opinion on each.

Tiffin- I had my first Tuba Christmas here, so that is special. It's a little on the small side, but the musicians are good, and there is always a chance to solo if you feel confident about it.

Columbus- Tony Zilincik is a fantastic person, and he pulls in a lot of talent for Columbus, including the 122nd Army Band tuba/euphonium section. They add so much clarity and depth to the ensemble, and they always do a piece by themselves which is superb!

Akron- with over 500 players, this is one of the most attended Tuba Christmas events in the country. Tucker Jolly is always a pleasure to work with! The sheer sound is unforgettable.

Cleveland- To begin with, I will I admit I'm a little biased about this one. I just finished my second year as co-coordinator. I love this one because it is so different from other Tuba Christmases. Like many of you, I go to more than one every year. While still playing songs from the green book, Cleveland also has plenty of arrangements by Bill Park, Jim McIntyre, J.c. Sherman, and myself. Along with a large variety of music, Cleveland also pulls in vocalists, percussionists, and other soloists to make it a truly unique event!
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